Lenovo and Ava DuVernay Unveil VR Film Series on Empowering Women

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This story initially appeared on Engadget

“Storytelling is an alternate of data; it’s additionally an alternate of feelings,” Ava Duvernay mentioned. She was talking on the digital launch occasion for New Realities, a undertaking in collaboration with Lenovo and the UN’s Lady Up management growth initiative. The undertaking options the tales of 10 younger girls around the globe utilizing know-how to make a distinction or pursue their desires, and are all informed in 360-degree movies you could watch free of charge on Lenovo’s website as we speak. You gained’t want a VR headset to expertise the six- to 10-minute shorts; the YouTube participant helps desktop and cellular viewing too.

“It’s an alternate that permits for understanding,” DuVernay added. “I believe that as a way to create world change, as a way to transfer our societies to extra optimistic locations, we’ve got to grasp that we’re extra alike than we’ve been informed.”

The sequence appears on the tales of girls from international locations like Mexico, Japan, China, India, Germany, France, Italy, the UK and the USA. They contact on various subjects, from local weather change to poverty to physique positivity and racism, with every particular person sharing their experiences of their international locations. The clips vary in manufacturing worth and size too, they usually’re narrated by the themes themselves. Bia Franco from Brazil, for instance, shares how she was raised by her stepfather after her father was killed by a drug cartel and her mom was imprisoned, solely to lose her stepfather to homicide by a drug cartel too. 

Picture credit score: Maurine Tric / New Realities

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The footage was captured within the final 4 months, and filmmakers took measures to verify the groups have been protected throughout the pandemic. You’ll see many passersby in masks in far-flung places like a rural village in India, and the immersive 360-degree movies could make it really feel such as you’re touring the world out of your sofa. That’s one of many highlights of the sequence. Since every story is comparatively brief and the picture high quality is fairly uncooked, it’s the sensation of being there with every person who makes the expertise extra impactful.

For instance, Ashwini Doddalingappanavar from India shared how she fought towards pressures from her household and village to pursue an schooling to enhance their lives. It’s a well-known story and maybe not on a scale as grand as a nationwide activist. However by just about visiting her village and following her to the large metropolis buildings and cramped room the place she lived throughout her schooling, I bought a greater sense of how monumental her journey was on a private degree.

Although they cope with critical subject material, among the clips have lighthearted, nearly entertaining moments. I couldn’t assist smiling at Noi Tatsuzaki from Japan as she confirmed off her lovable do-it-yourself robots within the form of crabs, owls and penguins. I additionally loved the unique music all through the sequence.

Picture credit score: New Realities

All through the sequence, you’ll discover the theme of schooling and entry to know-how serving to enhance folks’s lives (in addition to the not-so-subtle product placement of Lenovo laptops). Some manifestations of this theme are extra apparent, like Aisha Coulibaly in Italy who began an app referred to as MyGrants to assist migrants practice for jobs. Others, like youth local weather activist Daze Aghaji within the UK, barely point out tech in any respect, focusing as a substitute on nature and the atmosphere.

“In the end, it’s about know-how empowering empathy,” mentioned Lenovo’s chief buyer expertise officer Dilip Bhatia. The corporate additionally performed analysis alongside the undertaking to check how know-how is likely to be “driving empathy around the globe.” It polled greater than 15,000 folks in 10 international locations and located that “know-how has made folks extra empathetic in direction of completely different viewpoints of their communities.” 

Based on the corporate, 76 % of Gen Z and 71 % of millennial respondents agreed that “throughout the pandemic, know-how has made them extra empathetic to their communities in addition to enabling them to place themselves within the sneakers of others which may have very completely different lives to them.”

Picture credit score: New Realities

The 10 girls featured in New Realities have additionally been paired with mentors hand-picked by DuVernay as a part of a brand new International Ambassadors program, with Lenovo committing $100,000 in grants for younger girls to pursue schooling related to their objectives. The corporate additionally offered every lady with Lenovo or Motorola gear, like a laptop computer for coding or music-making, or a cellphone.

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DuVernay hopes that New Realities could be “a degree of connection between folks and the tales that these younger girls have created.” She added, “These girls have explored locations and habits and concepts via their storytelling that’s enlightening and empowering.” 

New Realities might not have the identical polish as documentaries like I’ll Be Gone In The Darkish or RBG, however the immersive format might transport you each mentally and emotionally. As sequence director Mary Matheson put it, “VR isn’t just storytelling, it’s story residing.”


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